While lockdown for many feels like a prison, for some, like local historian Lisa Truttman who managed to knock out two books during the first lockdown this year, it’s an opportunity to get stuff done.
Lisa, who describes herself as a “professional self-employed heritage researcher and occasional author of books”, is also known for her prolific blog and Facebook page, Timespanner.
She has published, she says, “eight or so books” since 2007. A quick search of Lisa J Truttman on the Auckland Libraries’ website results in a long list of titles including books, essays, and heritage studies. Lisa’s latest two books, published on 1st September, are available now, while another on Maungawhau Mt Eden is due out early next year.
A place to stay awhile: Auckland’s transit camps, 1944-78 (100 pages, $30) finishes a project she began eight years ago, looking into the story of transit housing camps set up at the end of World War II to tackle the housing crisis back then.
Auckland City’s mayor John Allum came up with the idea of turning former military camps into transit housing, filling the gap between inadequate slum areas and better homes provided by the government schemes, amongst others. The idea took hold nationwide for a time, until the crisis eventually eased. Today, hardly anything remains.
A Place to Stay Awhile details the stories and the lives at Auckland’s five transit housing camps, at Mt Victoria in Devonport, Western Springs, Victoria Park, the Auckland Domain, and Camp Bunn near Panmure, as well as transit camps in other areas of New Zealand.
The Maunga at Mount Albert (80 pages, $25) is on the stories on and around the maunga known as Ōwairaka and other names.
To order, email the author directly: email@example.com. Postage for up to two books is $6
Lynfield locals were shocked to see blue liquid being discharged onto the roadside channel on Hillsborough Road one rainy Sunday in late August.
Once the photo and video were posted on the Lynfield Community Facebook group, Mackenzie noted “I saw this the other day too, early in the morning”. Deb said “I saw the same thing last weekend. When I drove back past it was gone - same place - thought it was a once off - if this is happening regularly this is not good”
That the pollution had happened more than once pointed to it being a deliberate discharge being masked by rainfall, rather than an accident. This made one local so mad that he did his own investigation and found three 1,000 litre pallet cubes in the front of the property. The blue substance can be seen on the grass.
There were multiple complaints made to the pollution hotline.
The initial council response to one complainant was “Thank you for your email and video. I have contacted the owner and warned them of the paint incident and that should this happen again, they may face a penalty. I also explained the effects it has on our environment when paint gets into our stormwater drains. The owner did say it was not paint but chemical from cleaning his pool, still, no excuse for any type of chemical being discharged out and into the drains.”
When Beacon Community News enquired, it seems that the investigation may not yet be closed. Max Wilde, Team Manager Compliance Response stated: “We have spoken to the property owners about the potential damage that such a discharge can have in freshwater and our investigation is ongoing.”
How to help our monarchs
By Jacqui Knight, aka the Butterfly Lady
The butterfly habitat in the Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve is going ahead in leaps and bounds. The monarchs have returned from overwintering and are laying eggs on the swan plants.
“It would be joyous if it wasn’t for the ratbag or ratbags who stole plants from there recently,” said Jacqui Knight, the co-ordinator. “Our volunteers work hard to maintain and beautify the area and the person or people responsible for the loss of the plants obviously doesn’t understand gardening. It was the wrong time of year to be moving them”.
But there are more supporters than there are ratbags. For example, Lee from Garden Visions recently donated several hours of his time and experience, landscaping to make the habitat safer.
We want to do everything we can to ensure that butterflies continue to be an important part of our natural environment. But some people need to have a better understanding of Nature and how it works.
All monarch photos: Sally Phillips
Some tips for those of you who want to help monarchs:
Love Christmas? ... Love markets? ... Love food trucks?
Love generosity and community spirit?
If the very mention of Christmas ‘sparks joy’ for you, you’ll be saving the date for this brand-new Christmas market that’s being hosted by Blockhouse Bay Community Church this November.
Market stallholders have been doing it tough this year because COVID-19 restrictions have had a huge impact on sales, creating economic uncertainty. Organiser Emily Silby came up with the idea to create a lively indoor market within the church building, inviting vendors to participate free of charge and keeping their entire profit.
“We love our community and want to get behind small businesses doing amazing things”, says Emily. “They’re incredibly talented people and we just want to see them succeed.”
You can expect a wonderful selection of quality products from a bunch of passionate kiwis trying to make a difference in their community. The market will have five food trucks and over 25 independent stalls for you to explore all things Christmassy, from gorgeous wreaths, scrumptious goodies and beautiful homewares to mouthwatering delights from the food truck guys.
“It’s a great opportunity for a fun and relaxing night out with your partner or friends and to interact with people in the neighbourhood”, says Emily. “So, come and enjoy a night out with food, music, and shopping, and get stocked up for Christmas!”
Follow their Facebook page @blockhousebaychristmasmarket for updates and information about the vendors.
We could all do with good news, so we would like to acknowledge the great work of Raewyn and Jacquie from Barfoot & Thompson Grey Lynn.
Our team member Pam and her volunteers were tackling the invasive moth plant in New Windsor as part of the Whau Wildlink project. There, they came across a rental property with masses of moth plants that were ready to pop and spread their seeds. They raised the issue with property managers Jacquie and Raewyn, and were pleasantly surprised to see the plants gone by the next week.
Veteran volunteer Allan was so impressed that he wanted to buy them a bunch of flowers.
He says, "On behalf of all the volunteers who work endlessly on the invasive weeds in the community, we appreciate the swift and effective action taken to clear a property of the highly invasive moth plants. Through your action the community was spared the spread of thousands of airborne seeds. Thanks."
It's not widely known, but property managers who take care and responsibility make a big difference for our work in native wildlife restoration.
Ngā mihi ki a kōrua Jacquie and Raewyn.
The team at EcoMatters
Caption: Allan Johnson (EcoMatters volunteer) presenting the flowers to Raewyn Stanaway (Property Manager) and Jacquie Mardon (Property Portfolio Manager), Barfoot & Thompson Grey Lynn.
Replacement of the Huia 1 watermain has seen the first stage completed through Blockhouse Bay. Contractors have now finished work in Heaphy Street. They made good progress at an average of two pipes per day (24m).
The crew has now moved to another job but will return over the Christmas shut down to cross the Blockhouse Bay Rd roundabout. After that the replacement work will continue along Donovan Street.
Unprecedented. That’s a word we’ve heard often this year as we grapple with life in this COVID-19 world. COVID has changed the way we work, shop, holiday, socialise and, for those of us at Blockhouse Bay Baptist Church, the way we’ve done church.
Although disappointed at being unable to physically meet together as a community of faith, we continue to do all we can to care for our community, consider how we can serve our neighbours, and adhere to the lockdown protocols for the benefit of others. We have shifted from live services to posting Sunday service content on YouTube with age-specific engagement for kids and youth on a weekly basis. We have also gathered on Zoom for times of sharing, communion, and prayers as well as phone calls, texts, and the provision of practical care for one another.
We recognise how difficult this time is for many in our community. Working in partnership with the Glen Avon Trust we are supporting those who are struggling with job loss and lowered incomes. As the home for the Blockhouse Bay Combined Food Pantry, we continue to distribute food parcels (including home-made soup) while maintaining meeting limits and social distancing. We have also made and distributed 500 washable masks to individuals and groups in our community.
These efforts stem from a concern over how COVID can isolate us from one another. Being part of a community is essential for our well-being and being proactive in connecting helps alleviate loneliness and listlessness.
With the challenge of planning in these uncertain times and out of concern for our community, we’ve made the decision to cancel this year’s Hair Raising Hat Party. 2020 would have been the 20th consecutive year that we’ve hosted this event for our community, and we’re saddened that it will not proceed this year. All things being well, however, we look forward to celebrating with you in October 2021.
The team at Blockhouse Bay Baptist Church
Although Avondale College’s production of Legally Blonde was unable to go ahead as planned this year, the talented cast were able to perform three songs from the musical to their year level assemblies.
This was a spectacular showcase of the performing arts and a tribute to all the hard work and many, many hours of rehearsals that have taken place over recent months.
Accolades are deserved by each one of the nearly one hundred students involved in the cast, band and behind the scenes, and to all the dedicated staff, notably Director Mrs Erica Norton, Choreographer Ms Santana Schmidt, Musical Director Dr Julie Garner and Vocal Coach Toni Randle.
The production was not the only casualty of the capricious timing of COVID-19; the school ball was cancelled, as were the 75th Anniversary celebrations and the Senior Report evening, and the winter sports tournaments have been cut short.
Principal Mrs Lyndy Watkinson, while disappointed that so many plans have been thwarted this year, is immensely proud of the way Avondale College students have pushed through what has been a very challenging year. “I want to acknowledge the students for their ongoing positivity in school, and for their willingness to make the very most of the activities and events that we are still able to run”, she says.
Fortunately, the timing was favourable for the school’s 2020 Jazz & Soul concert in early August, resulting in a fabulous night of music including items from the Jazz Academy, the Dale Soul band, the Avondale College Stage Band, Big Band, Gospel Choir and several jazz combos.
It was clear that much hard work had been taking place throughout the year. For many students this was the first real opportunity to perform this year, given the cancellations of the Tauranga Jazz Festival, Auckland Schools Jazz Festival, and the KBB Music Festival. The performances can be seen on the school’s Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/avcol.
Another highlight was Y13 music student Tamanna Srivastava named as a finalist in the nationwide Play It Strange song writing competition.
Tamanna's original song, Before I'm Wide Awake, caught the attention of the judges, earning her not only the kudos and a Rock Shop prize voucher, but also a professional recording studio session valued at $1000, and a place in the 'Play it Strange' 2020 album. That’s an outstanding achievement for a young artist!
By John Subritzky
The Canal Rd trees looked doomed as we watched events unfold live on the AM Show on Wednesday morning, 16 September. The felling contractors had arrived with a digger. 10 Police exited a van (including one cop from the holding cell!) and marched across the road to form a line between many of the protesters and the trees. This is it! We thought. Those remaining magnificent and rare natives will be woodchips and mulch by tonight.
It was Day 71 since Treeworx had first arrived on site and felled about half of the trees. We had totally underestimated the grit and determination of the protestors. Not only were there ten people up in the trees but well over 100 others had answered the call and turned up from 4.30am for a peaceful protest after a tip off that felling the trees was imminent.
People sat down blocking the path of the digger from its transporter to the site. One group of protesters blocked Police from getting on to the property, while another sat on the truck and digger. Shortly after, local filmmaker Ken Sparks attached himself onto the digger with a steel pipe lock.
By 9:36 am, contractors decided to cancel the day’s work.
"Our goal was to stop contractors and give Mayor Goff the time to start an urgent discussion with the property owners to acquire the land," he says. "We put the call out, people came, and people power saved these irreplaceable trees," said protester Steve Abel.
Mayor Phil Goff says that felling significant trees is happening all over Auckland and says that only changes to the RMA will save them. In an eerily similar incident to Canal Rd, reported in local paper Hibiscus Matters, a group of twenty trees 100 years old, including natives, were felled by a property developer on the last vacant site at Millwater, Orewa. They, too, had been planted by the previous owner Vera Bartlett’s father and grandfather. Despite the objections of over fifty neighbours, the trees came down.
Vera, 85, says the trees were planted by her brother Ken, their father Frank and grandparents and some are very old. Both Frank and Ken were keen amateur botanists and “loved everything related to trees” Vera says.
She is sad that the trees – and the house built in 1890 – are gone, but says she accepted this would happen. “That’s the way life is,” she says.
The latest community artwork in Avondale has a story of the generations behind it. The artwork (mural) on the main walls of the Age Concern Auckland office building on Rosebank Road, is the final stage of an 18-month intergenerational community art project coordinated by West Auckland artist Ekarasa Doblanovic in partnership with Age Concern Auckland.
The artwork is comprised of over 200 individual clay tiles that were handmade and painted by Avondale Intermediate students and Cosmopolitan and Rosedale retirement village residents during ten workshops in mid-2019.
The participants learned how to make their own hand made paints from earth pigments, local clays and soils from the Whau area connecting the participants to their local environment.
The project was designed as a meaningful way to bring together young and old members of the community using the medium of art. Ekarasa Doblanovic outlines, “The idea behind the project was to draw out the diversity, experience, perspective and ways of life of people of different ages... Art serves as an ideal platform to explore stereotypes, taboos and the politics of age...”
Age Concern Auckland CEO Kevin Lamb says, “Twenty percent of older people experience loneliness and isolation. Many also have no interaction with younger people, and young people frequently don’t notice older people. Through the workshops, the older people involved could talk to the students while creating the tiles, sharing their stories and wealth of experience, giving the younger people an opportunity see the senior as a person, with a whole history behind them.”
The project was funded by the Whau Local Board and supported by Whau the People Charitable Trust.